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 “I can do without your money,” she cried. “I’m making money out of Johnnie Gallegher’s mill, plenty of it, now that I don’t use free darkies and I have some money out on mortgages and we are coining cash at the store from the darky trade.”
  “Yes, so I heard. How clever of you to rook the helpless and the widow and the orphan and the ignorant! But if you must steal, Scarlett, why not steal from the rich and strong instead of the poor and weak? From Robin Hood on down to now, that’s been considered highly moral.”
 “Because,” said Scarlett shortly, “it’s a sight easier and safer to steal—as you call it—from the poor.”
 He laughed silently, his shoulders shaking.
 “You’re a fine honest rogue, Scarlett!”

You could pretty easily envision most of our elected officials, after a few bourbons, being as honest as Scarlett, and with few edits to her words.

It's a little like an unholy version of the rosary.

Tax cuts for the rich.  Bailouts for the banks.  Limitless funds for imperial wars.  No money for health care.  No money for jobs programs.  No money for social services and the unemployed.  Union breaking, union giveaways.    Budget crisis, deficit hysteria.  Tax cuts.  Tax cuts.  Tax cuts.  Amen.

The House’s Republican majority gives initial approval to a budget plan decreasing spending, mainly by cutting back social services.

budget plan cuts social services

It's happening everywhere, of course.  Nationally, state by state, and in counties and cities and villages all across the US.  No money for schools.  No money for health care clinics.  No money for firefighter pensions, for the disabled, the students.    Unions - yeah, they're the problem.   The unemployed are "lazy", those getting evicted made "bad decisions".  Blame the victim, feed the perpetrators, coddle the rich, let the poor die slowly.  

There are protests, of course, just as there were protests to the build up to the Iraq War.   Sometimes they get press coverage.

Social Services Affected by Deep Budget Cuts, Groups Protest: MyFoxCHICAGO.com

Most of the time, though, they don't get any coverage at all.  Activists aren't interesting to the corporate media, unless they are being used to discredit grassroots organizations like ACORN.  Then, the coverage is as thick as wasps on an uncovered bottle of Mountain Dew in the August sun.

The unemployed, they're not interesting.  Not like Charlie Sheen or the Tea Party.  They're dreary, they're scary.  They remind us of what we could easily become, and that's never a comforting thing.  It's a lot easier to blame them for their plight and then ignore them.

unemployment extension leaves 99ers out in the cold

Even less interesting than the unemployed and soon-to-be-homeless are the sick.   The media's attention may be caught by a heart-tugging sick person, rather like the puppy-rescued-from-the-sewer - you know, the one in ten thousand who garners 500 offers of adoption.  

The can't-afford-to-be-sick everywhere in the US try to emulate the tactics used by those handful of successful fund raising stories; there are many websites and books giving advice on how to procure enough nickels and dimes to afford your next round of chemo:

There are various ways that you can raise the money necessary for the procedures you or your child need. The jar in a shop is just one method, although it can be quite effective, all those nickels and dimes add up to a considerable amount of cash!

how to raise money for medical expenses

Like the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire victims, the end result of these feed-the-rich-at-all-costs policies are dead bodies.  They become dead in an interesting variety of ways,

disabled man beaten to death by group home workers

laid off worker commits suicide

45,000 annual US deaths linked to lack of health insurance

But then it's back to bread and circuses,  endless war and "shared sacrifice".  

Some people preach a gospel saying "The worse, the better".  When enough people are suffering enough, they will finally unite and take action.  And I suppose there is a kernel of truth in this.  But there's another truth:  Victories are energizing.  Victories give hope, and hope spreads.  

So how do we begin to log more of these elusive victories?  Do we count on right-wing overreach to have the hoped-for backfire effect?  Do we hope for more Wisconsin-style uprisings?  What's the roadmap to progressive victory look like?  

We're all trying to navigate these bumpy highways, paved as they are with the bones of working people.   We don't have to stand in line to be culled, like steer on an abattoir ramp.  If you are afraid to take action - afraid you may lose the little you still have - I would urge you to remember the words of Emiliano Zapata: "Better to die on your feet than live on your knees." Because as long as you have anything, they don't have enough.  And they'll be coming for whatever it is you're clinging too - and soon.

 In Chicago and elsewhere activists are gathering on April 9th for two important events

AFL/CIO We are One Rally

New New Deal forum with John Conyers

If you are in the Chicago are, please join us for these events.  If you are elsewhere, find a local event to participate in, find a local activist group to get involved in, commit yourself to taking 3 actions per week to secure a livable future for all of us.   We owe it to those who fought this fight before us, and we owe it to those who are depending on us to hand them a future that is worth living.

Tales of the ultimate battle - good and evil, armageddon, last days, and all that - have been part of human storytelling always.  I don't know if this battle we're currently engaged in is the "ultimate" one or not - certainly the dialectical materialist economists seemed to think so - but it's pretty epic, regardless.  So what do you do when you're "caught in the crossfire between heaven and hell"? There's no hiding places, in the end.  So - fight!


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    "never trust a rich man when he offers you a truce"

    by KibbutzAmiad on Fri Mar 25, 2011 at 12:29:12 PM PDT

  •  Why Americans need to re-Unionize and strengthen (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KibbutzAmiad, Odysseus

    current Unions. Also, clean out union leaders who are corrupt or fail to fight hard for their members.

    But Unionize we must. Our own liberty and freedom is at stake.

    Hope has a hole in it when Republicans come, bringing shackles and sorrow; branding their greed on the backs of the poor. - W. A. Connors

    by Wendys Wink on Fri Mar 25, 2011 at 01:03:49 PM PDT

  •  sometimes i just get so tired of all this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KibbutzAmiad, blueoasis

    i want to throw up my hands and, like scarlett o'hara, just say "fiddle-dee-dee!"

    but obviously, we've got to keep fighting the good fight.

    hope springs eternal and DAMN is she getting tired!

    by alguien on Fri Mar 25, 2011 at 01:05:22 PM PDT

  •  What a fine moniker for modern Republicans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KibbutzAmiad

    They are the Scarlett O'Hara School in many ways.  It's even worse than your fine excerpt from GwtW suggests--they're not just stealing from the poor, but they're doing it by being con artists, e.g. lying about their concern for the deficit, health care government takeover, death panels, etc.

    The next few paragraphs, which you can read online as a free ebook, continue the theme nicely:

    She wasn’t a rogue, she told herself vehemently. At least, that wasn’t what she wanted to be. She wanted to be a great lady....
    "... I know I’m not as — scrupulous as I should be these days. Not as kind and as pleasant as I was brought up to be. But I can’t help it, Rhett. Truly, I can’t. What else could I have done? ...."

    Once again, I can almost, but not quite, feel sorry for conservatives these days.   The only way they can win office is through deception and hiding their true agendas, but once they're there, their ideological toolkits completely lack any methods of actually improving the economy.
    •  well, when (0+ / 0-)

      greed, avarice, and hegemony are your highest values, it's kind of hard to dress those up much.

      They try, of course, using the always-useful wedge issues and their Hortatio Alger fantasies.   But sooner or later their ugly nature breaks through the pretty veneers and you end up with the appalling truth that is the right wing agenda.

      "never trust a rich man when he offers you a truce"

      by KibbutzAmiad on Fri Mar 25, 2011 at 01:13:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  in case you (0+ / 0-)

    want a horrible reminder of what we are dealing with in terms of tools of the ruling class, click this link:

    "it gets even uglier in Wisconsin" (from Free Republic")

    "never trust a rich man when he offers you a truce"

    by KibbutzAmiad on Fri Mar 25, 2011 at 01:32:52 PM PDT

  •  While we were sleeping...like a thief in the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KibbutzAmiad

    night they came and robbed us.  They will be back because the gettin' is good.  You don't believe me?  Just go back to 1975 and remember Pol Pot.

    •  it's easy (0+ / 0-)

      to get drowsy in the US.  The circuses are flashier and more mesmerizing here and there is the immense and mighty Wurlitzer always playing - the corporate controlled media is a hell of a powerful tool.

      The ruling class smells total victory.  They're getting reckless; engaging in behavior they usually only employ when they are feeling threatened (such as supporting neo-populist groups like the so-called Tea Party).  Risky stuff.

      Ultimately, there are more of us than them.  Whether we can shepherd those numbers into a viable push-back (and advancing!) force depends on our ability to stop the silo-ization of progressive groups and engage organized labor.

      "never trust a rich man when he offers you a truce"

      by KibbutzAmiad on Fri Mar 25, 2011 at 02:07:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  and another (0+ / 0-)

    shot fired in the class war:

    free dental clinic to close in Wheaton

    There is virtually no low cost dental care available to anyone in my extremely wealthy county.  With foreclosures skyrocketing and unemployment very high, this is another "Please die fast" message being sent.

    "never trust a rich man when he offers you a truce"

    by KibbutzAmiad on Fri Mar 25, 2011 at 02:33:42 PM PDT

  •  Our only hope.................... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KibbutzAmiad, keikekaze

    a coalition against all organized discrimination: gender, orientations, race, ethnicity, labor, education, science, health, privacy, every area of life which diminishes the quality of life for the vast majority of people in order to transfer it to a miniscule number of ruling plutocrats.

    We have no one today who is truly advocating for such a coalition of the depth and breadth necessary to effect change.  Thus we allow ourselves to be played against each other and never make enough progress in any one area to bring about lasting, substantive change.

    For those who serve the greater cause may make the cause serve them.... Murder in The Cathedral......T.S. Eliot

    by blueoasis on Fri Mar 25, 2011 at 02:34:33 PM PDT

    •  leadership (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, keikekaze

      is a huge issue.  The two party system has failed working people, as both parties represent corporate interests (though there remain significant differences between them).

      Grassroots organizing and support national and state efforts is going to build our movement.   Because working people truly are "caught in the crossfire of heaven and hell."

      Those of us on the side of the angels need to consider ourselves soldiers in this class war and live our lives as such, I think.   This is going to mean energy, effort, discipline, and sacrifice (not the kind Obama is talking about!).  Leaders, I hope, will emerge.

      "never trust a rich man when he offers you a truce"

      by KibbutzAmiad on Fri Mar 25, 2011 at 02:37:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The people, the grassroots, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KibbutzAmiad, keikekaze

        provide the impetus for and continued growth of any major movement for change, but there must be a major point of identity through leadership from an individual, or today, more likely a group of cooperative leaders to give it an unmistakable identity.  And those group leaders need to represent individuals from every area working together for the greater good and fully supporting each other.

        That, I think, is the major challenge that we face today.  As you note, the dominant political parties today, well, us democrats, are the only party that have some progressive/liberal/humanitarian leanings left, but ineffective in promoting substantive change and, in fact, continually moving to the political right.  We need something to break the cycle.

        For those who serve the greater cause may make the cause serve them.... Murder in The Cathedral......T.S. Eliot

        by blueoasis on Fri Mar 25, 2011 at 02:57:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  we were (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis, puzzled, keikekaze

          looking at the unemployed councils of the 30s as one model.  We are trying to organize anti-eviction actions in Chicago and the suburbs.  But we are also trying to promote the "Second Bill of Rights" (freedom to earn, live, and learn) by connecting the peace groups, African American and Hispanic communities, and labor organizations (as well as faith based progressive groups).  Leadership, though - that's a tough one.  We need a Cesar Chavez, for example, to really capture the imagination of working people.  

          "never trust a rich man when he offers you a truce"

          by KibbutzAmiad on Fri Mar 25, 2011 at 03:04:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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